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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  February 27, 2011 6:45pm-7:15pm EST

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and suddenly it's not.nd and, of course, we know in warfare today it's not. it's a matter of technology and weaponry and bang for the buck. and that's really offensive to the idea of people who have t grown up on the idea of individual valor being the turning point in these battles, so it was fiercely resisted. >> a strongly romantic age. maybe you should talking about m james w. ripley who is a character that may be the reason that -- >> yes. tha >> -- the gatling gun was nothol used even though it was used. we shouldn't pretend that itt wasn't, it was used. >> ben butler, a notorious scalliwag of a union general die use it a little bit in the siege of petersburg. it he bought it with money out of his own pocket, the ordnance department was resistance to it. the head of the ordnance department was this gentleman that professor burton refers to, james wolf ripley. hen h was already in his mid of 60s at the time the sieve civil war began. -- civil war
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began. he had his reasons. hel k was getting all kinds of things coming in every day, all kinds of proposals for crazy new guns. he had a war to win. he was, like, don't bother me with your new-fangled stuff, this is a crisis. heg was very opposed to trying out new and innovative armaments at the time. the more we learn, the more you have sympathy for them.eapo he also demanded that the weapons that the union forces used have interchangeable partsl so he wasn't aet completely nonvisionary, but he was the man who really stood in the road, arms crossed looking out saying, no, no gatling guns. we're not going to do it. in bac fact, he actually referro it as an evil because he meant, basically, leave me alone. i've got a war to win. >> i thought you really nailed o the important symbolic nature of weapons when you refer to the importance of robert e. lee's sword. would you like to speak -- i thought this really goes from this romantic age of the individual to the sort of mass,
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ip -- indiscriminate killing ofd the modern age. epi >> no, it's one of my veryene favorite episodes in the books.a robert e. lee is there, his uniform is spotless, andth there's. yulless seize s. grant. was he just wasn't into all that. but he sees lee's sword, and one of the things happened was he decided to let lee and his men and officers go home, did not keep them there.e fo these were traitors, after all, they had rebelled existencean their country. g and granto said, go home, live your life in peace promising never to raise arms against the united states government again. and it was the sight of that sword. so, imagine, we're at this pivotal moment when everything is changing, when we're going to this new kind of technology,nd w when war's going to be a matter of innovative weaponry andut i technology, but it's a sword,th the simplest weapon there is, ac piece of metal dangling from
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robert e. lee's waist that persuades grant to let the men go home and to show this charity and mercy. it was the sword, it was this great crossing, as you say, between the romantic age and this tough new technological age that soon was going to make the world a very bloody place. >> i think we are about out ofme time, but would you briefly since you do such an array of different people of the 19th century and capture them so well with the great writing ability that you have, who was your most beloved or liked character that you dealt with, and who did you dislike the most? >> oh. i was ready for the like but the dislike, i don't know.l you know, i will have to say that gatling is probably the character, obviously, that most captivated me because i began with no knowledge of him at all, just that he'd made this gun. like what kind of person makes a gun? we all kind of share a bit of a cringing distaste for armaments. then when you find out -- hencet
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the subtitle, us misunderstood genius -- that he thought it was for a good reason, he thought he was going to shorten or eliminate war your next thought is, oh, right.rati but he truly believed it. and then you figure out he wasn't altogether wrong. wou he said it would act as a deterrent, you'd require fewer soldiers to fight it, it would e make war less expensive because the great expense in war is bodies in both a monetary sense, of course, and also an emotional sense. he was right about that. the 20th century has seen that happen. he was right.bu but, again, i think he had no idea what he was ushering in. if he could have seen the carnage in world war i and, of course, machine guns turned world war i into a defensive stalemate.uld hence, it goes on for so many more years than anybody could have predicted. and to see machine gunsethi completely transform the 20th century is something, i think, been hurtful to gatling. i think his regrets would have
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been of monumental proportions had he lived to see what happened. it's something we all face evere day, what are the consequences of our actions? and when you're an inventer like gatling, you have to think about that, you know, even morenlea intensely. t what am i unleashing upon the world? even with the best ofenti intentions, to create this deadly, deadly, horrific weapon, and we're still, of course, living in the shadow of the gatling gun today. >> and i think there's a messago about education for those of us who are educators in julia's book as well. all the way from the major physics professor at princeton to abraham lincoln to gatling, o these people pretty much were self-educated. they loved learning. there was something about the sm age that they wanted to learn -- >> self-taught. >> handled that very well -- >> yes. >> -- what a different society s and time it was. >> great age of amateurs. today everyone wants to see the resumé and the diploma on their wall, and, i mean, heavens, if somebody's going to do brain surgery on you, by all means,pep you want aty proposal on that wall.s, t
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but this was the age when, just as you say, a lincoln and a gatling and, you know, a samuel morse and these people without the formal education in their field could go and do these wondrous, marvelous things. we'll not have that age again. i mean, the age of the generalist, of the amateur is gone. cannot return. but it's far too specialized a world for that. but it doesn't mean we can'tome look back and try, perhaps, torm draw some of the good things from that age and maybe not be quite so judgmental about credentials. >> and i encourage you a way to do that is to read julia's book. and i think we're out of time.'l we really appreciate it. i believe there'll be books foro you to sign --now >> there will, indeed. >> i don't know exactly well, but somewhere around here. >> thank you all so much.wi if there's more questions, we'll take them. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> this program first aired in 2008. and to see other archived
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booktv programs, visit >> this coming monday booktv will be live online from the historic synagogue in washington, d.c., a palestinian doctor argues for an end to the bloodshed between the israelis and palestinians. his book tells the story of his three daughters who were killed by israeli forces during the 2009 raid on gaza. at 7 p.m. eastern time on monday, february 28th, go to and click on the watch button under the events information in the featured programs section of the page. >> up next, legal journalist kim eisler profiles the five partners of the washington, d.c. law firm williams and connolly. the author reports on the inside-the-beltway connections of the firm from their defense of president bill clinton to their representation of "the washington post."
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>> this is a book which is not just about washington, not just about a single washington law firm, but about -- it's sort of the culmination of everything that i learned from writing about lawyers and law firms back, back in the day. and that when you're a newspaper reporter, you learn early on that underneath every decision and behind every, almost behind every length and every political thing that happens from the smallest town to the biggest city nobody does anything in this country anymore without consulting a lawyer. i'd started my journalistic career as a reporter in greenville, mississippi, and from there i went on to the tampa tribune. and after living in florida for five year, i had decided -- five years, i had decided that the only place i could possibly live that would be better than florida -- because i kind of liked warm weather -- was california. and i ended up getting a job at a legal paper called the los
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angeles daily journal which was owned by -- i'm not even sure looking back on it if i recall, if i really remembered at the time that it was a strictly a legal paper. it sort of looked like "the wall street journal," and it was owned by charlie munger who had a firm out there. and charlie munger's the associate of warren buffett. and i just, i had loved covering courts when i was a kid, you know? my father -- i'm sure this wasn't intentional, he kept giving me books about lawyers to read. [laughter] so i had read all the books, clarence dare row's autobiography and i remember one of the books i had loved the most when i little was "my life in court," and i actually got to interview the author when i was in california which was one of the sort of thrills of my life. and from there i ended up going to american -- they after writing a couple of stories
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about sort of internal law firm problems, one of them -- the big story was about a crisis they were having at morrison and forester. i ended up getting offered a job at american lawyer magazine which ultimately led to my writing, covering the demise of finley and writing my first book, "shark tank." and it was while i was at legal times that i had an idea for writing a story about one of the lawyers of williams and connolly who i thought had the greatest dream job in the history of law which was running a baseball team. and that was larry he keen know who i went over to his office, and he was the president of the baltimore orioles. and larry, i got almost all through the whole story to the end of the story, and then somebody -- i was interviewing someone about larry and they
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said, oh, i guess you know about his illness. and i said, oh, sure, right. the illness, that's terrible. and so anyway i began to piece together the story about how at 3d years hold -- 39 years old larry had been stricken with non-hodgkin's lymphoma. and while he was in, and while he was in recovery, his miraculous recovery from this illness, he, he had -- he went to the dana far very cancer institute in boston, and they piped in the boston red sox games. so when larry got out of his isolation, they said what's the one favor that -- what's the one thing that you most want to do now that you're getting out of the hospital. and larry said i want to go walk around fenway park. here's fenway park right here, by the way, a picture of old fenway park. but larry's story is always,
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i've always thought it was one of the most dramatic and wonderful stories because larry, of course, 20 -- 23 years later larry not only survived, but against all the odds but managed an even greater -- beat the odds in even a greater way by being the leader of the red sox when they won the world series, a feat that nobody thought was possible. it was shortly after defeating larry and telling his story in legal times that i signed on to cover the iran-contra hearings. and that was when i first encountered brendon sullivan sitting a few seats behind him in the press row in the senate while he was representing ollie north. and when brendon sullivan came in to represent you, the room would crackle. it still crackles. when i walked into the ted stevens case, trial this year,
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you know, there's an electricity in the room that you're present with only of the great lawyers. -- with some of the great lawyers. as a reporter, i've been lucky to be able to be in trials with people like melvin belhi and william cunsler, and i was going to mention jim coleman who now is, i think, down at duke university when he represented ted bundy in the, some of his death penalty appeals. when you're in the presence of these great lawyers, it's really a spectacular feeling. you know, some of you may have heard -- i don't know if some of you are watching "boardwalk empire," anybody see the last episode where the arnold rothstein, the guy who fixed the 1919 world series, is preparing his legal defense, and one of the characters in the program says, arnold, you should be a lawyer.
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and he replies without sort of missing a beat, he says -- no, i'd rather continue to make my living honestly. [laughter] so, you know, there's a lot of, there's a lot of lawyers in this country that sort of don't necessarily all shower praise on the legal profession. but fortunately, i've been able to be around some of the best and the greatest, and when i used to do my 50 best lawyers story for the washingtonian every year, it would o you occuo me -- usually, i would sort of limit it to three. and brendon would be on there and david kendall who's right over here would be on there, and sometimes i would rotate the third spot -- richard cooper, i think, was on there one year and bob barnett was on there one year -- and i was thinking, boy, i could put, like, ten -- williams and connolly has at least ten, and brendon and dade would probably -- david would
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probably say all 50, but, you know. [laughter] i always thought the story of williams and connolly w0u8d make a great book, and a few years ago at washingtonian i did a piece called the firm that runs the world in which i talked about a lot of the sort of conceptic circles and some might say conflicts that sort of envelope this legendary firm. ..
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they represented all of the talent what was on the show -- george will, brinkley, cokie roberts, donaldson. most of the time they will also represent the talent that was on the show, james carville and matalin for example, and then to capital what they were also the attorneys for archer-daniels midland, which for many years part of which is retold in the movie to the informant with matt damon. anyway, as i looked at brendan sullivan's career over the entirety of his 35 years, i always used to say in my articles about him and when i was talking to people i would say brendan sullivan has gone 35 years and has never had one client serve any time in jail, which was pretty remarkable because by the time people came to him they were usually pretty far up the creek.
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it wasn't like he was defending, you know, too many roman catholic nuns or that sort of thing. after yy began to wonder if it was really true. was i just saying this, had i just repeated the story so many times that i believe it or not and so one of the things i tried to do in this book is go back and talk a little bit about why brenden sullivan has this passion that he has and what the pattern is from when he first came to williams & connolly after defending prisoners' at the presidio stockade in san francisco and then on to his first cases when prosecutors sort of routinely -- he discovered prosecutors didn't always behave in the most correct manner possible, and i sort of came to realize -- and i
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think i explained in the book why he is the way he is and why his cases turn out the way they do. and one of the best examples was the case of a tax fraud case that he had handled where he was going through the documents that the government had given him in this very high-profile case, and one of them didn't look right to him. it was sort of the others were yellow and this one looked okay, and so he held up, he held the paper up to the light and had his investigators check out the water mark and they were able to prove that the paper wasn't manufactured until after the document was supposedly tight, and the prosecutor hadn't been able to find -- hadn't been able to find the original documents so she just had it retype, and that was sort of classic brenden sullivan, which we saw a lot in the ted stevens case when he was able to prove that once again
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prosecutors had failed to provide all the exculpatory evidence that they are usually required to do. and in the broad, case that just concluded again in sort of the same result. so why do always find it kind of interesting to me that a lot of conservative politicians who rail against the awesome power of the federal government especially in the last couple of months -- brenden sullivan has been a foot soldier in the fight against the power, misuse of power by the federal government for 35 to 40 years, and a lot of these other people are perfectly willing to give -- to create new laws to meet federal crimes out of everything they can and give more power to prosecutors and don't see any inconsistency in the two positions. i don't mind which won they take but it just seems a little bit inconsistent. so i had taken all this, and i
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was able to convince st. martin's press to let me write a book about the world of big-time washington law, and particularly in looking at through the lens of williams & connolly, which is what i tried to do until -- tell how five in the basic threat of the book is take the five main characters in my book which are brendon, david kendall, gregory craig, bob barnett and larry lakino and talk about how in the law firm and the people that have left the law firm to pursue careers as larry did in baseball or jeff kinler did with the pfizer or the sony corporation or other people at textron or bechtel or marriott. how the direct line from the savings and the maximum of edward bennett williams and what he taught these disciples has
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met in terms of american business and law and really made this a tremendously unique firm in a lot of other ways i point out on like firms they don't take lateral partners for example, they don't engage in self-promotion, they don't have offices outside of other places. so, that's sort of what the book is about, and it's kind of like sort of an unlike what you might get from the comment of arnold the entire board what i think that my characters are all exemplified the best in the american law profession, which is sometimes difficult to say because when you go from writing for a trade publication, as i did at the "legal times" and american lawyer, although american lawyer was sort of an antitrade publication, to writing for the general-interest
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magazine like the washingtonian, you are sort of expected to hammer lawyers all the time and not give them much fabric but there are great people in the profession. jake's find one of the great lawyers in america, thank you for coming. if anybody has any questions, shoot them out here and i will see if i can make some sense. [inaudible] >> in the book it identifies that both sarah palin and [inaudible] was there any connection -- >> robert barnett has built this incredible practice, and one of the things that enables me to call this the wiltz most powerful firm is the fact that bob barnett's practice he
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represented arthur sulzberger represents three presidents, all vice presidents, the cabinet secretaries, the media become major media figures, the anchors on both the network and broadcast placing all the powerful people in washington around like pieces on the chessboard and he started it all with geraldine ferraro, and i was interviewing when i called geraldine ferraro to talk about her relationship with barnett and how this led to this incredible remarkable practice that he has it was just about the time sarah palin had been named to be the vice presidential nominee by john mccain, who wasn't a williams & connolly client by the way. and so i said just sort of at the end of my questioning of geraldine ferraro about her relationship with williams & connolly, i said has sarah palin -- have you talked to sarah palin? you now share this distinction
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as being the only to women in american history to be nominated for vice president, has she called you to talk to you, ask you what it's like or what it might be like or anything like that? and she said well, she said no, but then she said with a actually, senator mccain had called me and i called him back. he called me to tell me what he had done and i called him back, and i said wish her luck, and he said she's right here, i will put her on the phone. and so he put sarah palin on the lane and she basically had no clue who geraldine ferraro was. the conversation was very short, and, so with sarah palin spoke "going rogue" came out there's a whole page about how sarah palin had been going around the country talking about how great
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geraldine ferraro was, and geraldine ferraro had called her up to thank her for all these shout out on the campaign trail. so, anyway. so i called geraldine ferraro back and i said you know, her account is a little different from yours, so geraldine ferraro sort of repeated the story as she told it to be the first time, so i was satisfied to put it in the book. but i did -- sarah palin, very attractive person, has a lot of energy, you know, i don't see how anyone can't like her. i watch her show the other night. i saw her stand up to the grizzly bear. [laughter] but she can tell some whoppers. that's all i can say. the woman does know some whoppers. [laughter] >> anybody have any other questions they would like to ask? okay, well i hope you enjoyed the evening, and i will go over there and sign some books. [applause]
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thank everybody for coming. >> kim eisler is the national editor for the washingtonian magazine. he's the author of several books including a shark tank greed, politics and the collapse of finley cumble one of america's largest law firms. to find out more, visit you are watching book tv on c-span2. 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books every weekend. captain sullenberger is the author of the highest duty. captain sullenberger, what is the highest duty? >> it's the best we can to take care of each other and as a captain of course the passengers are my responsibility. but the book is more than that even to degenerate 15th, 2000 mine and the hudson river landing. it's more about my life as a
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preparation. i had to have an insightful survey of my life and all the important events and the people who were with me that day and helped me to synthesize a lifetime of experience is to solve a problem i had never seen before along with my crew, and so i think finding one's passion early in life, being diligent and willing to work hard to become expert at leads to a purposeful life full of passion, and i think that is what helped me more than anything else that day over the river. >> so what led you to write the book? was at the landing in the hudson river? >> absolutely the was a big part of it. i think much of the book was already in me, you know, my life story, but that was the impetus. it was a story that needed to be told and i wanted to make sure that i could tell it through my eyes. >> well, you know, half of the world has seen the video of that landing, and everybody exit in the clean up this point. what was your thoughts on impact? >> well, i will tell you a quick
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story about what happened immediately after the landing. jeffrey scott was my first officer that day and i had never landed in a river before so we didn't quite know what to expect. and i didn't know how successful i would be in making the touchdown, you know, gentle enough to keep the airplane in tact, i was confident i could but i didn't know how hard it would be since we had no trust to make a more gradual approach to the water. so after we had landed and stopped in the water, right before i opened the cockpit door and commanded the evacuation my first officer and i turned to each other in the most amazing coincidence and at the same time and almost the same words said "will that wasn't as bad as i thought. so that was our first reaction. >> what do airlines look for in airline pilots that they seem to have this calmness? >> well, what we as it did that day and forced on ourselves was a practiced column that professionals learn and it's not
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really a calm command is having the discipline to compartmentalize and focus on the tax at hand even though you're body's normal human reaction is to respond with a spike in blood pressure and pulse and narrowing of your perceptual field because of its intense sudden life-threatening stress. and so we did our jobs in spite of it. >> in your view now has a retired u.s. air captain, is the airline industry secure in the united states? >> you mean in terms of our security from threats? >> in any way. >> doherty mean financially? >> more of threats and air traffic, etc.. >> well i think we are working very hard to manage all those risks, both in terms of the safety of the system and air traffic control, and also in terms of our security. but there is always more to be done and we are always trying to find new ways to learn from our experiences and do it better in
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the future and that's a big part of what i'm trying to do now is keep on being an advocate for the highest professional standards in my profession and highest levels of safety for our passenger


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